Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Identifying Snakes in Bangkok

Snakes are the most feared animal in the city, but only a few can hurt humans and all of them prefer to avoid people. In fact, snakes are a beneficial part of Thailand’s ecosystem. Many of Bangkok’s snakes feed on mice and rats, helping control those rodent populations and reducing crop loss and the spread of disease. Some of the smaller snakes eat insect larvae and help to control ant and termite populations in the city.

However, every year several people in Bangkok are bitten by dangerously venomous snakes. For information on what to do if you are bit by a potentially dangerous snake, go to the snakebite page.

Green Snakes

Green camouflage is an adaptation for some snakes that live in bushes and trees. Many people believe that green snakes are dangerous, but in fact only the vipers are (mildly) venomous and they can be distinguished by the shape of their head.

Long-nosed Whip Snake Ahaetulla nasuta head
Long-nosed Whip Snake – extremely slender with long narrow head and pointed snout ending in a “nose”
Golden Tree Snake Chrysopelea ornata
Golden Tree Snake – black markings on body, long but not pointed head that is predominantly black on top
Big-eyed Pit Viper Kramer's Large-eyed Pit Viper Trimeresurus macrops
Large-eyed Pit Viper – stout triangular head, blue-green on lips, large eye, venomous and dangerous!
White-lipped Tree Viper Cryptelytrops albolabris
White-lipped Pit Viper – stout triangular head, white or yellow on lips, venomous and dangerous!

Brown or Black Snakes

Snakes that spend their time near the ground or on large trees tend to be drabber in color. Here are a few snakes who are primarily brown or black without significant markings

indo-chinese rat snake ptyas korros thailand
Indo-Chinese Rat Snake – Large eye, long trail, only faintest markings on adults
Kevin Messenger hong kong Ptyas mucosus oriental rat snake
Oriental Rat Snake – Large eye, long tail, indistinct bands that fade with age
Naja kaouthia (Monocled Cobras) Randy Ciuros
Monocled Cobra – Smallish eye, short tail, characteristic “monocle” on back of neck, venomous and dangerous!
Sunbeam Snake Xenopeltis unicolor
Sunbeam Snake – flattened head, striking iridescent shine off of dark body
yellow-bellied water snake Hypsiscopus plumbea enhydris thailand
Yellow-bellied Water Snake – small head, olive-brown top with yellow belly
Tentacled Snake Erpton tentaculum smithsonian national zoo
Tentacled Snake – flat body, head with two tentacle-like appendages, always in water

Banded Snakes

Many ground and water snakes have brownish bodies marked with various types of bands. Many species vary in the tone and intensity of their colors, so the most important characteristics to pay attention to are the size of their bodies and the shape and distinctness of their bands.

Banded Kukri Snake (Oligodon fasciolatus) khao yai thailand
Banded Kukri Snake – dark blotches with small crossbars in-between and a characteristic head marking
Tom Charlton Common Wolf Snake Komodo Island
Common Wolf Snake – narrow brown head with a white collar, very indistinct light bands on small body
Dryocalamus davisonii Common Bridle Snake Thailand
Common Bridle Snake – Small head, slender body with narrow white bands that reticulate near tail
banded krait Bungarus fasciatus
Banded Krait – triangular body, distinct dark and light bands of equal width, venomous and dangerous!
jodi's Cylindrophis jodiae ruffus red-tailed pipe snake kaeng krachen thailand
Jodi’s Pipe Snake – small head, red under tail, narrow light bands broken on top
Homalopsis mereljcoxi Jack's Masked Watersnake
Jack’s Water Snake – narrow but distinct light bands fade with age, broad head with dark “mask”
adult Bocourt's Mud Snake Enhydris bocourti
Bocourt’s Water Snake – Thick body, narrow yellowish bands on a mottled brown background
Dog-faced Water Snake Cerberus schneiderii Cerberus rynchops singapore
Dog-faced Water Snake – dark bars on brown/grey body, dark eyestripe, found only on coastal mudflats
Keel-bellied Water Snake bitia hydoroides malaysia petrova cyclowiki
Keel-bellied Water Snake – indistinct black bands on top of cream-colored body, only on coastal mudflats
little file snake wart snake Acrochordus granulatus malaysia
Little File Snake – thick with loose skin and granulated scales, only in marine habitats

Blotched Snakes

There are a number of brownish Bangkok snakes with various blotches on the body. Most are easy to distinguish by the shape and position of the blotches.

Reticulated Python Malayopython reticulatus malaysia Ngu Leuam งูเหลือม
Reticulated Python – Large body with reticulations of black, brown, and yellow
Burmese Python Python bivittatus bivittatus assam india
Burmese Python – Large body, brown blotches are lighter between
Young Eastern Russell's Viper in Indonesia (photo by Gary Stephenson
Eastern Russell’s Viper – A row of brown spots on back and each side, stout head, venomous and dangerous!
Mangrove Pit Viper Trimeresurus purpureomaculatus Exotarium Oberhof malaysia mangrove
Mangrove Pit Viper – broad triangular head, brown, gray, olive, or yellow with dark blotches, venomous and dangerous!
Kevin Caldwell Many-spotted Cat Snake Boiga multomaculata
Many-spotted Cat Snake – slender body, average head, rows of brown blotches offset on either side of back
Yellow-spotted Keelback Xenocropis flavipunctus
Yellow-spotted Keelback – large eye with eyestripe, black checkers/bars on body
Red-necked Keelback Rhabdophis subminiatus
Red-necked Keelback – red and yellow markings on neck, faint checkers
Chanard's Water Snake Enhydris chanardi
Chanard’s Mud Snake – Small eyes, short thick body, small black dots on side with a white line underneath
Jagor’s Water Snake Enhydris jargorii from last known remaining population daryl karnes
Jagor’s Water Snake – small eyes and head, very thick body, narrow black blotches that extend all the way down to the belly
Male Javan Wart Snake Acrochordus javanicus
Javan Wart Snake – loose skin, granular scales, squared-off head, dark gray blotching on sides

Striped Snakes

A few of Bangkok’s snakes have striped patterns

Copperhead racer trinket snake Coelognathus radiatus_Daniel Rosenberg Hong Kong
Copperhead Racer – Black stripe on front half of body and lines radiating from eye
Indo-Chinese Sand Snake (Psammophis indochinensis) chiang mai thailand
Indo-Chinese Sand Snake – Alternating light and brown stripes on medium body
Rainbow Water Snake Enhydris enhydris malaysia
Rainbow Water Snake – thick body with two light yellow-to-red lines
PaiPainted Bronzeback Common Bronzeback Dendrelaphis pictus Malaysianted Bronzeback Common Bronzeback Dendrelaphis pictus Malaysia
Painted Bronzeback – very slender, light line on side with black above through eye
striped kukri snake Oligodon taeniatus Michael Cota Rangsit_files
Striped Kukri Snake – light line on back with dark borders, diagonal marks on head
Buff-striped Keelback Amphiesma stolata
Buff-striped Keelback – two light stripes intersected with dark bars

Worm-like Snakes

These “blind” snakes can be distinguished from worms because they have eyes, a tongue, and hard scales. Their lack of features makes them difficult to identify, and so a scale count is often necessary to tell the species apart.

Brahminy Blind Snake Ramphotyphlops braminus Indotyphlops bangkok thailand
Brahminy Blind Snake – small, slender, relatively uniform coloration
White-headed Blind Snake Indotyphlops albiceps งูดินหัวขาว malaysia
White-headed Blind Snake – slender body, distinct white head
Slender Blind Snake Indotyphlops porrectus
Slender Worm Snake – extremely slender, sometimes with pale head
diard's blind snake typhlops diardi Rajib Rudra Tariang Assam India
Diard’s Blind Snake – robust, dark brown fades into paler underbelly
Roxane's Blind Snake Argyrophis roxaneae Thailand Typhlops FMNH R177984 holotype
Roxane’s Blind Snake – stout, darkest only on upper dorsum
Flower’s Blind Snake – round tail with no ending tail spine

103 thoughts on “Identifying Snakes in Bangkok

  1. Hello. Can you help me identify this snake. I saw a medium to small snake in my garden. It was light brown/tan and had black zigzag like markings on it sides. Very pronounced. It had a slight orange tinge on the head. I took for a python but could it be venomous? Viper? The head was not particularly triangular.

  2. I saw a snake near my house…about 50 cm long…I took a picture of it. It was not that aggressive…brown with net shape…had a triangular head. Can I put the picture in the comment field ?

  3. I found a small dark snake in my kitchen, it has thin banded offset markings yellow on the underbody and orange banding on the upper side of the body. About 30cm in length with a pronounced thicker yellow band across the head and a short orange tail

  4. I found a smallish snake outside my gate. Possibly around 18″ long. Lightish grey body with a red to copper coloured band around its neck. When approached it took the pose of a cobra neck puffed out. No idea what it is. I took photo of it but can’t find any snake that matches it. Any suggestions please.

    1. It sounds like a False Cobra, Pseudoxenodon macrops. They are extremely variable in color so some of the pictures you looked at might have been other color variations. Send me the photo if you can.

  5. Hi, this morning in our garden in Bangkok a largish snake with longitudinal yellow and black stripes, with the yellow ones wider than the black. I couldn’t s the whole snake, but the loop of the body I saw was probably 5-6cm in diameter. Our cat was bothering it, and after laying still for a while, it suddenly whipped away very quickly into a pile of dead leaves and branches (just before I could get a picture!).

      1. From the pictures, it looks like a Copperhead Racer, and also regarding the behavior described. I think that’s what it was – hard to tell the difference between yellow and a yellowish tan in the shadowy undergrowth where I saw it. Also the size described for the racer would be about what this one must have been, a couple of meters to judge by the girth, though I didn’t see the whole thing.
        Thanks for your help!

  6. Hi. I am in Phitsanulok and was about to close me hotel room when i heard hissing sound, turned around and there was big snake just 1 meter away from me. I started to scream and jump and ran away and also snake was more like frightend than aggressive because it went right towards the jungle. It was darker grayish color. At least 1.5-2 meters tall. Snake was pretty “fat” or big, and head was also not pointy or triangular or out standing, but more like his body.

    What could it be?

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